More malicious than a professional murderer is the king
Who rules his people with injustice and oppressiveness.
The scepter-wielding king who requests a gift is like
The lance-bearing robber who demands, "Give me all you have."
Unless the king day-to-day seeks out and punishes unlawful acts,
His country will day-by-day fall to ruin.
The unthinking king who rules crookedly
Forfeits both his subjects' fealty and his own fortune.
Are not the tears of a people who cannot endure an oppressive reign
The instrument that wears away their king's prosperity?
Ruling rightly, a monarch may long endure.
Without that, his majesty is rightly unenduring.
As the earth fares under a rainless sky,
So do a people languish under an unkind king.
Possessions are less pleasant than poverty
To the oppressed living under an unjust king.
If the king acts contrary to justice, contrary seasons will befall
And rain-laden will not come forth.
If the people's protector fails to protect,
Priests will forget the Vedas and cows' milk will dry up.
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